Inslee announces end to outdoor mask mandate Feb. 18.

OLYMPIA, Wash., February 10, 2022 – Washington remains the only state on the West Coast to not announce discontinuing its indoor mask mandates after Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday, February 9, that the state will lift its outdoor mask mandate beginning February 18. Washington is now one of four states nationwide with indoor mask restrictions.

“Today is not the day to lift all of the masking requirements,” Inslee said at a press conference Wednesday. “We are obviously having conversations and an intensive review of what day it will be.”

COVID-19 Hospital admission projections presented by Gov. Inslee during his Feb 9 presser.

Inslee cited decreasing COVID hospitalizations as evidence the state has seen the worst of the Omicron variant.

The current mask mandate requires everyone 5 years or older to wear a mask in public indoor seatings and at large, outdoor, events of more than 500 people such as concerts, sporting events, and fairs.

Inslee said at a press conference Wednesday he’ll announce next week a date when Washington can expect to see a lift of the indoor mask policy.

A recent study conducted by Monmouth University found that 70 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that “it’s time we accept COVID is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.”

The Monmouth survey found that support for vaccine mandates has dropped to 43% from 53% in September, and support for masking and social distancing guidelines dropped to 52% from 63% over the same period.

“It’s very disappointing that the governor chose only to announce an end to the outdoor mask mandate – something most people had forgotten even existed,” Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, said. “Our rate of decline in cases is better than Oregon’s, but they and California both announced dates for the end to their mask mandates. Somehow the science is different in here?  I don’t know if he is indifferent or just unprepared. Come on, governor the people of Washington deserve more.”

Senate Republicans sent a letter to the governor on February 1 requesting he remove the statewide mask mandates, increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates to long-term care facilities to discharge more patients from hospitals, and de-emphasize the current focus on testing.

“It’s time to end the mandates, as we requested in a letter to the governor. Ending the mask mandates would help lessen the burden on schools, retail businesses and the hospitality industry, as well as on families across the state,” Sen. John Braun said.

Kienan Briscoe

Michael Kienan Briscoe (referred to by his middle name 'Kienan') has a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University and has worked as a freelancer for a variety of publications and organizations throughout New York City and Seattle. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important public tools to ensure an educated and aware society of events surrounding them. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry, playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors. He lives in Seattle with his two dogs.

Kienan Briscoe has 213 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

One thought on “Inslee announces end to outdoor mask mandate Feb. 18.

  • February 10, 2022 at 6:05 PM
    Permalink

    I am I the only one out there who didn’t know there was an *outdoor* mask mandate?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.